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BLOG_5_Ways_Airlines_Can_ImproveAutomation always sounds like a wonderful thing – letting go of unnecessarily time-consuming processes and handingoversight to a system that can free up your finance department for tasks and projects that are better uses of its time.

Yet overcoming that initial hurdle – determining what needs to be automated, selecting an appropriate solution, taking the time to realign businesses processes – can seem daunting enough to keep you from taking the initial steps toward true freedom.

With every airline’s bottom line today challenged by carrier consolidation, rising fuel prices, fare wars and excess capacity, automated and accurate revenue accounting can help mitigate these challenges. Automation is a key driver of business efficiency, and a well-built airline revenue accounting system can help automate validations, rating, prorations, and transactions -- leading to reduced cost structures and better cash management.

When looking at workload automation, here are five areas where it can improve business efficiency by leaps and bounds and deliver a return on investment far beyond your expectations.

1. Better data extraction and analysis

Big data in the airline industry has a multitude of uses, from driving the development of customer service-enhancing apps and programs to better aligning your carrier among competitors and making better use of the billions of pieces of data coming into your operation every day. A good airline revenue accounting system can automate data extraction and flow into analysis systems to provide a mile-high view of patterns, revenue leakage, opportunities, and more. Such systems also ensure data integrity, making the information extracted unquestionably valuable.

2. More effective interline partnerships

Interline billing represents one of the greatest sources of airline revenue leakage. While an agreement can certainly boost revenue, tasks like coupon matching and billing settlement can easily lead to a shortfall if not properly monitored and efficiently processed. By automatically generating interline bills in a timely fashion and analyzing your revenue accounting data to spot revenue leakage, a top-notch system can find issues more quickly than can manual processes and set your accounting operations on a path toward fixing problems before they become runaway crises.

3. Better reporting

While growth and partnerships can be a boon (boom?) for business, a higher ticket load and interline billing complexities requires solid and accurate reporting on a regular basis. Demand for revenue data, however, can place a significant burden on time and resources for your finance department. With automated reporting, you can integrate data from all your revenue sources and minimize your reporting cycles, making it easier than ever for airline management to make quick and sound decisions.

4. Reduced costs

Any time you replace a manual task – which is often composed of several requirements and checks along the way – with an automated one, you’ll see reduced costs across the board. An airline revenue accounting system with automation can correct errors, process transactions, and reconcile data to save labor costs, and reduce per-unit processing costs by reducing manual intervention to the bare minimum required.

5. Faster revenue collection

An airline revenue accounting system with automation features can also identify online and (not sure what they mean here, best to leave this out) interline revenue more immediately than non-automated or manual processes, meaning that you can collect more quickly and get revenue on the books in a more timely manner. No longer will it take ages for your bottom line to reflect revenue from multiple sources.

While any change to processes and systems comes with a learning curve and an adjustment period, selecting an airline revenue accounting system with robust automation features can go a long way toward ensuring smoother operations, a better bottom line, and a strong future. Revenue accounting systems are ubiquitous in the airline industry – indeed, you could hardly operate without one – but choose a system that goes above and beyond, and you’ll ensure your carrier is able to do the same.